North Volta Rural Bank Salaried Workers Study 2013, Baseline Survey
1-2-3 Survey, phase 1 [hh/123-1]
Many of North Volta Rural Bank's customers who are salaried workers, and therefore receive their pay via direct deposit to NVRB, make frequent use of high interest payday loans (temporary overdrafts). As part of a randomized controlled trial, including 245 men and 75 women, NVRB offered a product to these customers in which they commit to having a fixed amount taken directly from their salary and put in a commitment savings account, for an 18-month period.
The key questions this study is designed to answer are
(i) How do individuals adjust their finances in response to regular, automated savings withdrawals?
(ii) What do they spend the lump sum on?
(iii) Are there any long-term impacts of having participated in the commitment savings program on economic activities, savings, debt, or spending behavior?
(iv) How are these impacts different for men versus for women?
The baseline survey data collection for this study took place during September and October 2013. This baseline dataset includes data from 318 individuals: 243 men and 75 women.
Unit of Analysis
This survey was designed to capture baseline indicators on the following:
- Expenditures and transfers
- Income and wealth
- Savings and debt
- Financial literacy
- Time preferences and self-control
- Financial distress
- Intra-household decision-making and preference alignment
The study sample is comprised of individuals holding bank accounts with North Volta Rural Bank (NVRB), which is a fairly small bank with just eight branches, all of which are in the northern part of Ghana’s Volta Region. NVRB’s eight branches are located in eight communities across five districts: Dambai in Kratchi East District; Abotoase in the Biakoye District; Ayoma, Guaman and Jasikan in Jasikan District; Kedjebi and Papase in Kedjebi District; and Nkwanta in the Nkwanta South District.
Study participants reside in predominantly rural communities in the following districts: Jasikan, Kratchi East, Kratchi West, Biakoye, Nkwanta North, Nkwanta South. Additionally, some study participants live in the larger municipalities of Hohoe and Kpando.
This baseline survey dataset is comprised of 318 individuals who are account-holders with North Volta Rural Bank and who have their salary directly deposited into an NVRB account, and who consented to participate in this baseline survey.
Gender: 243 are men and 75 are women.
Occupation: All are salaried workers. 31 are staff of NVRB, and most of the other 287 individuals are civil servants. Many are also involved in other livelihood activities.
Education: Most study participants are secondary school graduates.
Age: All are between the ages of 18 and 57 at the time of baseline. 18 is the minimum age for holding a bank account with NVRB, and the study sought to exclude individuals who would retire during the study’s two-year duration, and Ghanaian civil servants are required to retire at age 60. At baseline, the average age of study participants was 30.
Residence: All resided in the study area at the time of the baseline survey.
Producers and sponsors
University of Ghana
University of Southern California
World Bank Africa Region Gender Innovation Lab
Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA)
North Volta Rural Bank (NVRB)
Dates of Data Collection
Data Collection Mode
All survey enumerators were Ghanaian, and enumerators were divided into teams of 4-5 enumerator supervisors. Each team had a supervisor. Completed surveys were supervised by an editor, and additional training, guidance, and corrections were made as needed.
Data Collection Notes
Steps 1 and 2 took place in April 2013; Step 3 in May through July of 2013; and Step 4, which included baseline survey data collection, took place in September and October of 2013.
Step 1: Using NVRB administrative data, the research team generated a list of all NVRB customers who have a salary directly deposited into their NVRB current or savings account. This initial list included 420 individuals (322 men and 98 women).
Step 2: Remove from the list those individuals whose “salary” is actually a pension, a student stipend, or payment for a temporary position with the National Youth Employment Scheme, or who is due to retire during the study duration (this eliminated everybody aged 58 or older, as 60 is the mandatory retirement age in Ghana). Any individuals meeting these exclusion criteria who nonetheless made it to steps 3 or 4 were removed from the study sample list at that point.
Step 3: NVRB branch staff contacted all individuals on the list to ask if they would be willing to be contacted by the research team, and for their contact information to be shared with the research team. Those who did not agree, or who met one of the exclusion criteria, were removed from the list.
Step 4: An Innovations for Poverty Action survey enumerator visited those individuals who had agreed to be contacted, and invited them to participate in the baseline survey. Those who did not agree, or who met one of the exclusion criteria, were not surveyed, and were removed from the study sample list.
In total, 318 individuals completed the baseline survey (243 men and 75 women). 100 individuals who were removed from the study sample between steps 1 and 4 were removed for the following reasons:
retired or too close to retirement (33), refused / not interested (19), using NVRB bank account merely as a pass-through to another bank (14), transferred by their employer out of the study area (12), on chronic sick bed or mentally ill (10), on study leave from their government job (4), deceased (3), other reasons (5).
Additionally, 2 individuals did not complete the baseline survey but were included in the study sample, such that the total study sample is 320.
Data was collected from individuals using a household survey administered to the study participants. The survey was written and administered in English, and took approximately 90 to 120 minutes to administer.
The questionnaire covers the following:
1 - Respondent ID and survey information
2 - Demographics
3- Questions using a 10-step ladder
4 - Expenditures
5 - Hypothetical use of a hypothetical lump-sum transfer
6 - General questions on finances, financial strain, self-control, and financial literacy
7 - Time preferences
8 - Household roster, including financial support provided to individuals outside of the household
9 - Food security and financial shocks
10 - Housing quality and household assets
11 - Income
12 - Savings
13 - Debt
14 - Intra-household decision-making and preference alignment
15 - Livestock
16 - Land
Survey responses were recorded on paper, and were entered using double-data entry and reconciliation.
A minimum of 10% of survey participants were visited by an independent auditor who completed an audit questionnaire with the household, which was then compared to the household survey for that individual. Discrepancies found during the audit resulted in additional training, guidance, and changes in personnel as needed.
Use of the dataset must be acknowledged using a citation which would include:
- the Identification of the Primary Investigator
- the title of the survey (including country, acronym and year of implementation)
- the survey reference number
- the source and date of download
Buehren, Niklas., Markus Goldstein, Leora Klapper,Tricia Koroknay-Palicz (World Bank), Robert Osei (University of Ghana), Simone Schaner (Dartmouth College). Ghana North Volta Rural Bank Salaried Workers Study 2013, Baseline Survey (SWS-BL 2013). Ref. GHA_2013_SWS-BL_v01_M. Downloaded from [URL] on [date]
Disclaimer and copyrights
The user of the data acknowledges that the original collector of the data, the authorized distributor of the data, and the relevant funding agency bear no responsibility for use of the data or for interpretations or inferences based upon such uses.
DDI Document ID
Development Economics Data Group
The World Bank
Documentation of the DDI
Date of Metadata Production
DDI Document version
Version 01 (December 2017)